Nairobi News


Handbrake lights flash when am driving

By NETO OMBEWA February 15th, 2014 2 min read

Dear Neto,

I have 2004 VW Polo. There are three warning lights on my dashboard; the first indicates a circle with the abbreviation ABS inscribed in it and the second is the normal handbrake light flashing. 

The other one is a round curved arrow with a triangle and exclamation mark in it. The ABS light used to go off after a while when the engine is started but of late it stays on.

The problem started a week after I changed the brake discs. I have checked the brake fluid and the level is fine. Why would the handbrake light flash when the vehicle is running?


 Dear Linet,

All those lights being on at once is an indication that something is seriously wrong with your Antilock Braking System (ABS). The first warning light indicates that the ABS system is faulty and needs attention.

The second light usually means that the brake fluid is low and needs to be topped up or when the brake pads are wearing low. In your case, it is blinking and that shows something is not right with the whole electronic control and needs immediate attention.

The third one means there’s a problem with the traction control system. It is usually integrated in the ABS system and can only be checked by diagnosis. You might be wondering why all this is happening and yet the fluid level is okay.

The ABS computer only stops the wheels from locking up during braking and goes into fail safe mode when it detects faults. You are still able to brake normally but the wheels will lock up when you brake suddenly.

This means the ABS system is bypassed but you can still safely brake. It could be the ABS fuse has blown because of an electrical fault, the ABS hydraulic pump or loss of communication between the ABS computer and the main Electronic Control Unit from a broken harness and poor connection.

Kindly get your car scanned for codes first because these ABS parts are quite pricey.

Got any questions about cars? Send them to with Wheels in the subject line.